Written By Ami Defesche
Sweat, sore muscles, dealing with all of those ‘bros’ at the gym. There are a lot of reasons that exercise gets such a bad rap. I’m not going to claim to know any statistics but I’m guessing exercise is probably central to some of the most common, and most commonly broken New Year’s resolutions. But, exercise isn’t all that bad, once you look at it from a different angle.
1. Social Life – Since so many people view exercise as boring and arduous, it often gets ignored as an idea for a fun social outing. Don’t let me lose you just yet. I’m not saying gather your pals to stand next to each other on treadmills. Try out a dance class, go hiking, or for something a little different, horseback riding is a lot of fun and a pretty great workout for the legs, back and those hard-to-target glutes. Then, celebrate with drinks after.
2. Saving Money- Sure, you may pay gym fees and those workout clothes can be expensive, but there are a lot of money saving benefits to exercise. Try passing up that gym card and look for free or donation based exercise in your area. There’s a new trend popping up where are guerrilla exercise groups get together regularly at parks or other public places to hold group classes. A lot of yoga studios are also now going donation-based so that you can drop in for a class even when your wallet’s looking empty. Don’t forget to ask your company about wellness incentives, too. A lot of companies are now offering bonuses and discounts on insurance for getting and staying healthy.
3. Confidence- You don’t have to have rock hard abs to get a little confidence boost from exercise. See what happens to that confidence level when you don’t have to lie down to button your jeans, or when you can make it up that extra flight of stairs without getting winded. And, let me tell you, there’s no greater triumph than noticing that that little “jiggle” is gone from wherever it was.
4. Self-Discovery- Most people think of exercise as something only for the body, but it is easily just as beneficial to the mind. Pushing your body is hugely psychological, and your mind can seriously surprise you sometimes. Exercise like Yoga and Martial Arts are taught as mental practices just as much as physical practices, with the idea that if your mind is one with your body, you will attain greater strength, balance and control. Even if you’re sticking to traditional exercise like running or lifting weights, the act of goal setting and the experience of your body growing and evolving to be capable of more than it was before instills a feeling of inner-strength that is far more satisfying than toned arms.
5. Sex Life – Sex—is exercise. It’s probably the most fun anyone has ever had exercising, but it’s still exercise. Though, I haven’t tried Zumba yet so I may be proven wrong. Not only does exercise increase your stamina simply by making your heart and body stronger, but a study conducted by the Journal of Sexual Medicine in 2008 showed that exercise also increases body awareness which resulted in enhanced sexual arousal in women and a higher percentage of satisfying orgasms in men.
The bottom line? Exercise isn’t just about looking good in a swim suit, it really permeates many other aspects in your life that frankly—make it better! There’s no need to be traditional about it, anything that gets you up and moving will do. In all seriousness, sometimes I even count shopping as my exercise for the day (about 150 calories per hour!). So, get up off the couch and see what a little exercise will do for you.
References: Journal of Sexual Medicine; “The Roles of Testosterone and Alpha-Amylase in Exercise-Induced Sexual Arousal in Women”; L. Dawn et al; April 2008; Journal of Sexual Medicine; The impact of body awareness on sexual arousal in women with sexual dysfunction”; B.N. Seal and C.M. Meston; July 2007; Health Calculators: Shopping Calories Burned
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